On May 30th, one of the most beloved (and most frustrating) racing game franchises enters the next generation of gaming.  Mario Kart 8 marks the first jaunt onto the WiiU and extends the 120-million copy selling franchise into its next chapter. I’d say virtually all of us have touched a Mario Kart game at some point, and shared in the zany racing action with friends and CPU enemies alike. We’ve experienced the highs of winning races, and the lows of getting rubber banded by computer opponents. Still, whether you started all the way back on the Super Nintendo, or the Nintendo 64, or even grabbed some of the later titles (I just re-bought Double Dash a couple weeks ago, for example,) it’s been a bumpy and fun ride.

Nintendo is sweetening the pot for you early purchasers of Mario Kart 8. Purchase the game right away and register it with Club Nintendo for a sweet bonus: A Free Game!  If you purchase and register it online by July 31st, you’ll be given a download code for your choice of:

Wii Party U ()

New Super Mario Bros U (Console Bundle)

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD ()

Pikmin 3

There hasn’t yet been any information released as to whether the code itself has an expiration date (just the fact that the promotion expires on July 31st.)

For those of you that haven’t yet purchased a WiiU, and had your eye on the Mario Kart 8 Special Edition Console Bundle, the offer applies to that too! The Mario Kart 8 bundle is jam packed with extras. For $349.99 (price subject to change,) you will get a Deluxe 32 GB Black WiiU console, and the Mario Kart 8 game. In addition, you will also get a second red Mario branded Wiimote, as well as a red steering wheel. Then, as I’d mentioned, you can register the game and choose your downloadable title.

The best part of this offer is that much like the Nintendo 3DS Pokemon offer that was run back in March, you’re receiving a fairly new release game free of charge! Sometimes when these offers come about, you might get a 2 or 3 year old launch title, or something that’s pretty deep discounted already. Here, you’re getting something that, off the shelf, would cost you the same price as Mario Kart for doing nothing other than registering your game online!

“Everyone loves Mario Kart,” said Ron Bertram, Nintendo of Canada’s vice-president and general manager in a press release regarding the promotion. “It’s a franchise that brings people together for fun at a family gathering, a frenzied race against friends or just an afternoon break at the office. The numerous new features of Mario Kart 8 make this the most ambitious version yet, and one that will have players of all skill levels racing for the checkered flag.”

This new edition of Mario Kart will be chock full of additional features too, including a 12 person online multiplayer, new items and introduces Mario Kart TV, a video recording and sharing service that allows you to take your featurettes to the Miiverse. Of course, no Mario Kart game is complete without a little bit of heartbreak, and CPU characters that cheat like half the cast of the show Wacky Races. Top this off with all of the signature tracks based on various corners of the Mario Universe, and you’ve got another title poised to become an alltime Mario Kart classic.

The multiplayer is completely unique, yet vintage Mario Kart at the same time. While being able to play with up to 12 players over the internet, you can do everything from specify times of day to race, terrains and you can even add more opponents through the mix through downloadable ghost races. You can even download the Nintendo team’s track record ghosts to play against, and beating them gets you special online flair.

There will be high hopes coming into this title too. Mario Kart 7 is the highest selling single 3DS cart (Pokemon X and Y combined have moved about 3 million more copies) and Mario Kart Wii is not only the highest selling racing game of all time, but the highest selling console title in history that wasn’t originally a bundle game. That’s a bit of a tricky stat since the game WAS bundled later on with the black consoles, but so many Wii systems were already in circulation by then that it hardly made a dent in that overall total.  

Quick note for you Mario Kart Wii gamers that love playing online: You will have to upgrade immediately to Kart 8 if you want to keep playing online. The online features for Mario Kart Wii will be shut off on May 20th.

So that’s it. Dust off those racing wheels and start your engines. Mario Kart 8 is coming to your Nintendo WiiU on May 30th.

 

Pre-Order Mario Kart 8

Pre-Order the Special Edition Mario Kart 8 WiiU Bundle (While Supplies Last)